Flashback: Obama Argued Against Mandate in 2008

Thursday, 29 Mar 2012 09:12 AM

By Greg McDonald

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The Supreme Court seems poised to declare Obamacare unconstitutional, based partly on an argument that President Barack Obama used to attack former Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s healthcare plan in 2008, according to Daily Mail Washington correspondent Toby Harnden.

Writing Thursday in his Mail Online blog, Harnden recalled how then-Sen. Obama railed against the idea that government could force individuals to buy health insurance. His attacks came in speeches and in ads he ran against Clinton during their long battle for the 2008 Democratic nomination.

Ironically, the so-called “individual mandate” is now the centerpiece of Obama signature legislation, the Affordable Healthcare Act, which requires people to buy health insurance or pay a penalty.

Harnden recalls Obama’s statement in February 2008 that using an individual mandate to solve the problem of the uninsured would be like trying to cure homelessness by ordering people to buy a home.

“I believe the problem is not that folks are trying to avoid getting healthcare,” Obama said at the time during a debate in South Carolina. “The problem is they can’t afford it.”

Later, Obama drew an even harder line against the individual mandate in an April ad attacking Clinton.

“What’s she not telling you about her healthcare plan?” the ad said. “It forces everyone to buy insurance, even if you can’t afford it, and you pay a penalty if you don’t.”

Following is a video of an Obama-Clinton debate exchange:




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